Protecting Those with a Progressive Lung Disease During a Pandemic

senior man holding an inhaler

Individuals diagnosed with a progressive lung disease, such as COPD, have had to stay especially  watchful since the COVID-19 pandemic started, because they are likely at both a higher risk for contracting the virus along with developing more severe complications as a result. A newly released research study published by the European Respiratory Journal reported that COPD patients were more likely to be admitted to the ICU, require ventilator care, and succumb to the virus than those without the disease.

And while the CDC provides strategies for all of us in order to prevent getting the illness, such as regular handwashing, social distancing, and staying home as much as possible, one recommendation is especially a challenge for someone with breathing difficulties: wearing a face covering. The American Lung Association advises that individuals diagnosed with COPD try a number of different kinds of coverings to discover one that’s most comfortable, and wear the mask around the house for brief periods of time in order to become more familiar with the sensation.

Additional recommendations include:

  • Continue to manage your COPD as suggested by the physician, with adjustments to restrict your exposure to others, such as telehealth appointments and mail-order prescriptions.
  • Improve your immune system with a healthier diet and lots of rest, and make sure to follow the physician’s recommended treatment plan.
  • Take good care of your emotional health to lower stress. Turn off the news and social media and participate in relaxing and enjoyable activities instead. And make sure to check with a mental health professional as necessary for assistance with managing stress and preventing depression.

Of particular significance for people with a progressive lung disease is the importance of regular physical exercise. According to David Au, MD, professor at the University of Washington Medical School’s division of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine, since COPD causes shortness of breath, physical activity is particularly challenging. He, and the Respiratory Health Association, recommend (with doctor’s approval):

  • Strive for no less than half an hour of exercise every day, at least 3 times every week.
  • Try leg lifts, marching in place, and arm circles, utilizing canned goods or small weights.
  • Go up and down stairs.
  • Incorporate yoga breathing exercises.

These resources provide more helpful tips targeted to COPD challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic:

For reliable in-home care for those diagnosed with a progressive lung disease like COPD or any other chronic conditions, get in touch with Heaven at Home Senior Care. Our staff are fully trained and experienced in providing individualized care to help make life safer and more enjoyable. You can reach us any time at (940) 380-0500 to learn more about our Argyle home health care and the surrounding areas we serve.